British Romanticism and Europe

Monte Verità, Ascona, Switzerland

New dates: Thursday 23 June to Sunday 26 June 2022

Plenary Speakers: Christoph Bode, Biancamaria Fontana, Paul Hamilton, and Nicola Moorby.

Screenshot 2019-11-25 at 16.41.29.png

J.M.W. Turner, 'A storm over Lago Maggiore, from near Magadino' (? 1842), Tate Britain, Photo © Tate, CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0

Organized by: Patrick Vincent (University of Neuchâtel), David Duff (Queen Mary University of London), and Simon Swift (University of Geneva)

Contact: Patrick Vincent

British Romanticism is part of European Romanticism and British writers drew inspiration from personal and cultural links with mainland Europe as well as the many forms of Continental travel. This international conference will explore the manifold relations between Britain and Europe during the Romantic period, taking advantage of recent work on transnational circulations and exchanges and a growing interest in comparative methodology.

The conference will question stereotypes of Great Britain as insular by highlighting the island-nation’s European identity and its participation in a pan-European Romanticism shaped by transnational cultural dialogue and the cross-fertilization of art forms and disciplines.  The aim is to uncover the channels and mechanisms by which Romantic ideas and influences were conveyed across national and disciplinary boundaries and to examine the role of individuals, communities and institutions in this complex transmission process.

As well as directing attention to the often-overlooked international dimension of British Romanticism, the conference aims, by bringing together scholars working in Britain and on mainland Europe, to help develop the expanding research network on European Romanticism.

Held at Monte Verità, an international conference centre in Ascona in the Swiss canton of Ticino which was formerly the site of a utopian community attracting intellectuals from across Europe, the conference will be divided between three plenary lectures and twenty panel sessions. There will also be a public lecture on J.M.W. Turner and the Italian Lakes, as well as an optional excursion to Lake Como.

Topics addressed include the following:

  • British Romanticism and Italy
  • British Romanticism and Scandinavia
  • British Romanticism and France
  • European Romantic Historicism
  • late Romanticism
  • travel and material culture
  • Romanticism and the environment
  • Romantic women’s networks
  • European Romanticism and / in Britain.
  • Romantic mediations and mediating figures
  • Romantic disseminations and circulations
  • Romantic theories of ‘Europe’
  • European Romantic aesthetics
  • Romantic Europhobia and Europhilia
  • Romantic exile and displacement
  • British Romanticism and Continental philosophy
  • British Romanticism and Continental science
  • Britain’s Four Nations and Europe

Preliminary schedule

Thursday, 23 June 2021

  • 1:00-1:30  Welcome and Introduction
  • 1:30-4:30  Parallel sessions 1, 2, 3 & 4
  • 4:45-6:15 Parallel sessions 5 & 6
  • 6:15-8:00 Welcome drink and dinner
  • 8:15-9:45 Plenary 1

Friday, 24 June 2021

  • 8:30-10:00 Parallel sessions 7 & 8
  • 10:15-11:45 Plenary 2
  • 11:45-1:30  Lunch
  • 1:30-4:30 Parallel sessions 9, 10, 11 & 12
  • 4:45-6:15 Parallel sessions 13 & 14
  • Dinner on your own in Ascona

Saturday, 25 June 2021

  • 7:30-2:45 Optional excursion to Como (see Excursion)
  • 3:00-4:30 Parallel sessions 15 & 16
  • 4:45-6:15 Parallel sessions 17 & 18
  • 6:30-8:00 Dinner
  • 8:15-9:45 Plenary 3 (open to the public)

Sunday, 26 June 2021

  • 8:30-10:00 Parallel sessions 19 & 20
  • 10:15-12:00 Plenary 4 and Conclusions

after Turner, Lago Maggiore .jpg (Lago Maggiore 1829 by Joseph Mallord...

'Lago Maggiore' (after J.M.W. Turner, 1829), Tate Britain, Photo © Tate, CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0




Getting to Locarno

(you can also go directly to the Monte Verita directions page)

Screenshot 2019-08-29 at 13.31.54.png

By train

Locarno is connected to major train lines circulating between northern Europe and Italy. If you travel by train within Europe to Zurich, continue by train to Locarno (see below). For the schedule of the Swiss train lines, click here.

By air

a. From Zurich Airport

If you land in Zurich, you can reach Locarno by train via Zurich Central Station (Zurich HB).

1. From Zurich Airport to Zurich Central Station (Zurich HB)

You can take a taxi from the airport, but the fastest and cheapest way is the train.
Follow the "Rail" signs to reach the Zurich airport station, which is located below the airport buildings.
The train timetables for the central station (Zurich HB) are posted at the top of the stairs leading down to the tracks. Both machines and counters are available to buy tickets.

Trains to the central station leave every 10-15 minutes and the journey takes about 15 minutes. Once you arrive at the central station you can take your connection to Locarno.

At the airport ticket offices and vending machines you can already buy the ticket to Locarno.

2. From Zurich central station to Locarno

There are frequent connections to Locarno. The best option is the connection that requires you to change only once in Bellinzona.
Unfortunately there are no more direct Zurich-Locarno trains.
The journey takes approximately 2.5 hours.

For travel within Switzerland, booking in advance is possible but is not mandatory

b. From Milan Malpensa airport

You have the option of travelling by train or shuttle.

1. By train via Milano Centrale or Milano Nord

To find the train time that suits you best, see the SBB page

2. Shuttle to Castione-Arbedo  and train to Locarno

You can reach Bellinzona with the Malpensa Express shuttle.

The shuttle leaves every one or two hours and the journey takes two hours.
The reservation (via the website indicated above) is mandatory.

From Castione-Arbedo you can reach Locarno by train. There are connections every 20-30 minutes for a journey that takes about 25-30 minutes.

Once in Locarno, continue on to Monte Verità following the directions below.


B) Getting from Locarno to Monte Verità Conference Center

Shuttle Bus

A free shuttle bus transfer will be provided between Locarno train station and Monte Verità on the arrival and departure days

Public bus

Bus Nr. 1 (timetable) from Locarno railway station to Ascona (stop Ascona Posta) and then Bus Nr. 5 ("Buxi") from Ascona to Monte Verità (timetable)


There are several taxis available at Locarno railway station (15 minute ride). You must reserve them at the following number: +41 91 792 21 01 or 0800 321 321

The cheapest rates are usually with the EcoTaxi, which costs CHF 25


Exit Ascona/Losone. Continue on Viale Monte Verità (direction Ascona Center). Turn right onto Strada Collina and follow the directions to Monte Verità.
Free parking spaces.


fondazione-monte-verita.jpgThe conference will be held at the Monte Verità hotel and conference center in Ascona, Switzerland.

The registration deadline is 1 April 2022.

The registration fee for the conference is CHF 150.-.

The fee includes: attendance fee, abstract booklet, entrance to the Utopia museum (villa Anata), coffee breaks and welcome drink, and all meals except dinner on Friday 24 June (i.e. dinner on Thursday 23 June and Saturday 25 June, and lunch on Friday 24 June).

An optional excursion to Lake Como is planned on Saturday 25 June. See Excursion.

The excursion fee of CHF 50.- covers all transportation costs and the entrance to Villa Carlotta.

Those who wish to go on the excursion need to pay CHF 200.- (registration + excursion fee) via the registration site.

How to register

In order to register, please do the following:

1. Fill out and submit the registration form on the CSF Online Platorm.

2. Once you have successfully registered and paid the registration fee, you will receive 2 E-mails:

  • the first E-Mail will be sent by the Saferpay Platform and will confirm that payment of the registration fee has been successful.
  • the second E-Mail will be sent by the CSF database and will contain a link and the conference code, necessary to access the Monte Verità Meals & Bedroom Booking Platform. See accomodation.

Please note that some participants have had difficulty registering with their credit cards. The platform uses Saferpay (Six payments), which occasionally blocks some cards. If this happens, please contact your card issuer for instructions or use another card. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Registration cancellation policy

  • Up to 1 May 2022: 100% refund
  • From 1 May to 31 May 2022: 50% refund
  • After 31 May 2022: no refund can unfortunately be made.

Your registration fee will automatically be refunded in the event of a conference cancellation due to the coronavirus.

How to cancel your registration

In order to cancel, please do the following:

  • write an email to the conference organizer – the email date counts as the cancellation date.
  • registration fees will be reimbursed according to the above cancellation policy.

The congress organizers cannot accept any liability for personal injuries sustained, or for loss or damage to property belonging to conference participants (or their accompanying persons), either during, or as a result of, the conference. Registration or accommodation fees do not include insurance.

By registering and paying your fees, you accept all the above terms and conditions.


monte-verita-ascona_storia-01.jpgThe Monte Verità hotel and conference center has a total of 49 rooms and 76 beds spread over 4 historic buildings (Bauhaus, Villa Semiramis, Casa Gioia, Casa Monescia). Conference room rates, which include breakfast, vary between CHF 42.- for a single in Casa Gioia to CHF 264.- for the Casa Monescia, a house accommodating 4 people.  

Because room choices are limited, we urge you to book as early as possible and to share a room with a colleague. Participants who are not presenting papers should contact the organizers before booking a room at the hotel.

In order to book your accomodation, you first need to register (see Registration), then access the CSF online platform and insert your code.

Please note:

  • the number of single rooms at the conference site hotel is limited; if you require a single room, we recommend you to book one well in advance. Some singles have a shared bathroom.
  • if you wish to share a twin room with a colleague, please mention both names at the time of booking.
  • if you wish to book a shared double room with an accompanying person (not active participant), please mention both names at the time of booking (please be aware that accompanying persons pay the standard room price of CHF 105.- and are not entitled to the CHF 28.- additional price reduction per person and night granted by CSF/ETHZ to active participants.).
  • the rooms on the platform can be booked only for the duration of the conference. If you wish to book a pre- and/or a post-night, please contact the Hotel Reception Monte Verità (info@monteverita.org). Any pre- or post-conference nights at the hotel and centre Monte Verità do not profit from the reduced prices. Moreover, another conference is scheduled directly after ours.

In case there is no availability or in case you do not wish to stay at Hotel Monte Verità, you can look for another hotel in the nearby Ascona village (15/20 minutes on foot from Monte Verita Centre). Participants booked in one of the nearby hotels will have a transport provided to and from the conference site in the morning after breakfast and in the evening after dinner. Daily schedules of this transport will be available at the external hotel and at the conference venue. Breakfast will be served at your hotel, whereas all the other meals are booked at the conference venue restaurant.

Cancellation policy

You may find the cancellation policy for room bookings on the hotel website.

Locarno, spreading out in width like heaven,

And Como thou—a treasure by the earth

Kept to itself, a darling bosomed up

In Abyssinian privacy…

From W. Wordsworth, The Prelude, Book VI

Lake Como, birthplace of the Pliny the younger, summer residence of Milan’s gentry, Carbonari hotbed, and one of the settings of Stendhal’s Charterhouse of Parma, is located approximately one hour from Ascona. Needless to say, it was also one of the British Romantics’ destinations of choice on the Continent. Wordsworth got lost in the northern part of the lake in 1790, and returned with his wife and sister in 1820, staying in Cadenabbia. Robert Southey visited Walter Savage Landor in Como in 1817. The Shelleys tried to rent a villa, without success, in Tremezzina in 1818. Most scandalously, Caroline of Brunswick settled with her Italian lover at Villa d’Este, in Cernobbio, from 1815 to 1817, where she was spied upon by the Prince Regent's agents.

On Saturday 25 June, we have set aside the morning to offer an optional half-day excursion by bus and boat to the western shore of Lake Como. This will provide you with the opportunity to discover Como’s romantic scenery and to engage in discussions beyond the conference room. 

440px-The_Long_and_Short_of_the_Tale_by_George_Cruikshank.jpgTentative program

  • Departure Ascona 7.30
  • Bus to Cernobbio via Como (1h)
  • Brief visit of Villa d’Este grounds, home of Princess Caroline
  • Bus to Tremezzina along western shore of the lake (1/2 h)
  • Visit of Villa Carlotta (house and gardens)
  • Boat from Villa Carlotta to Bellagio (10m.)
  • Visit and lunch on your own in Bellagio
  • Boat to Menaggio (10m.)
  • Return by bus to Ascona via Porlezza (1h)

Cost of the excursion: CHF 50.- (does not include lunch), see Registration

(For those who prefer not to go on the excursion, the hotel gardens are very pleasant, and there are a number of fine walks in the vicinity of the conference center)

Christoph Bode is Emeritus Professor of English at LMU Munich. A graduate of Philipps-Universität Marburg and University College Cardiff, he has taught in various German universities and at UCLA. Professor Bode is a specialist in British, European, and American Romanticism and in Modernist Literature, with research interests in philosophy, aesthetics, literary theory, and narratology. Among his sixteen monographs, one may cite Ästhetik der Ambiguität (1994), John Keats: "Play On" (1996), Selbst-Begründungen: Diskursive Konstruktion von Identität in der britischen Romantik 1  (2008), Fremd-Erfahrungen: Diskursive Konstruktion von Identität in der britischen Romantik 2 (2009), and The Novel: An Introduction (2011). Christoph Bode was also president of the Gesellschaft für englische Romantik (Society for English Romanticism) for many years.

Biancamaria Fontana is Emeritus Professor of the History of Political Ideas at the University of Lausanne. She is a graduate of the Università degli Studi, Milano, and Cambridge University, where she obtained her PhD. and is a member of King's College. Professor Fontana has published widely on the Coppet Circle, on the history of classical liberalism, and on the shaping of representative government before and after the French Revolution. She is the author of many books including Benjamin Constant and the Post-Revolutionary Mind (1991), The Invention of the Modern Republic (1994), Montaigne's Politics: Authority and Governance in the 'Essais' (2008), Du Boudoir à la révolution: Chaderlos de Laclos et les liaisons dangereuses dans leur siècle (2013) and Germaine de Staël : a Political Portrait (2016).

Paul Hamilton is Emeritus Professor of English at Queen Mary University of London. A graduate of the University of Glasgow and Oxford, he has also taught at Oxford, Nottingham, and Southampton. Paul Hamilton is particularly interested in the relations between literature, philosophy, and political theory. His most recent monographs include Historicism (second edition, 2003); Metaromanticism (2003) which explores historical transformations of the Romantic aesthetic; Coleridge and German Philosophy: The Poet in the Land of Logic (2007); and Realpoetik: European Romanticism and Literary Politics (2013), which compares the writings of some major German, French, and Italian Romantics with an eye to their differences from British Romanticism. His edition of the Oxford Handbook of European Romanticism was published in 2016.

Nicola Moorby is an independent art historian specialising in British art of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She studied at the University of York and Birkbeck College, London. Formerly a curator at Tate Britain, she has curated a number of exhibitions and has published widely on J.M.W. Turner, including contributions to the forthcoming online catalogue of the Turner Bequest. She is also co-editor and author of How to Paint Like Turner (Tate Publishing, 2010). In addition, she has published on Walter Richard Sickert and is co-author of Tate's catalogue of works by the Camden Town Group.